Man charged over trying to stop son’s prosecution for hit-and-run

Dan Joe Fitzgerald accused of trying to hinder case against son over man’s death in Kerry

Dan Joe Fitzgerald was charged with attempting to impede the prosecution of his son, Shane, on a charge of dangerous driving causing the death of Paud O’Leary (42) on July 1st, 2012. File photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Dan Joe Fitzgerald was charged with attempting to impede the prosecution of his son, Shane, on a charge of dangerous driving causing the death of Paud O’Leary (42) on July 1st, 2012. File photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

 

A 71-year-old man has been charged with attempting to impede the prosecution of his son for dangerous driving causing the death of a father of four in a hit and run in Co Kerry four years ago.

Dan Joe Fitzgerald was charged on Friday with attempting to impede the prosecution of his son, Shane, on a charge of dangerous driving causing the death of Paud O’Leary (42) on July 1st, 2012.

Mr O’Leary was out cycling at 5am on the day in question when he was struck and knocked off his bike at Scrahanfada near Gneeveguilla by a Toyota Landcruiser that failed to stop.

His body was later found by relatives searching for him and gardaí began an investigation to try to identify the driver who fatally injured Mr O’Leary.

In March 2015, Shane Fitzgerald, who had denied any involvement in the incident, was convicted of dangerous driving causing the death of Mr O’Leary after a trial at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court.

Judge Thomas O’Donnell sentenced the driver to 6½ years in jail with the final 18 months suspended and banned him from driving.

Prosecution

On Friday, Dan Joe Fitzgerald of Upper Knockeen, Meelin, Newmarket, Co Cork, appeared before Cork District Court where he was charged with attempting to impede a Garda prosecution of his son.

The offence, which is contrary to Section 7 (2) of the Criminal Law Act and carries a penalty of up to 10 years, is alleged to have happened at a place unknown between July 1st and July 13th, 2012.

Insp Fergal Foley gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution and told Judge Leo Malone that Mr Fitzgerald snr made no reply to the charge when it was put to him after caution.

Insp Foley said the Director of Public Prosecutions had directed trial on indictment and that time was needed for preparation of a book of evidence and he applied for an adjournment.

Defence solicitor, Shane Collins Daly, told the judge that his client was applying for free legal aid in relation to the matter as he was a 71-year-old pensioner with limited means,

However, Insp Foley said gardaí believed he had an income until relatively recently.

“He was engaged in importing machinery from the UK and then selling it,” Insp Foley said.

The judge said he was reserving a decision on free legal aid until gardaí made a full inquiry into the statement of means submitted by Mr Fitzgerald in support of his application.

The Judge remanded Mr Fitzgerald, who did not speak during the brief hearing, on bail on his own bond of €500 to appear again before Cork District Court on December 15th next.